A Time for Renewal

January represents a number of things for many people. It is a time to try new things, or improve on current success.  The act of making New Year Resolutions, according to history, has been around since the time of the Babylonians.  The tradition has many religious parallels.  For Christians, the act of reflecting on our lives over the previous year, to both seek and offer forgiveness, can also be found during our season of Lent.  Though the motive behind Lent is more of sacrifice than of responsibility, the practice of New Year’s resolutions came, in part, from the Lenten sacrifices.  Regardless of culture or creed, the concept of offering resolutions was designed for individuals to annually reflect upon individual self-improvement.

The last six weeks of the year is always the hardest for me personally.  In 2009 I experienced the loss of a parent several days before Christmas.  Since that year I have found that no matter how hard I try, I just cannot seem to fully enjoy the Christmas season the way I have in the past.  However, I still continue to make the best attempt that I can so as not to ruin the season for other family members.  For me January represents not only a fresh start, but also a chance to recover from the downward spiral of the last six weeks.

I thought my first blog of the year should contain some discussion on how I review my personal goals.  Hopefully you may find some of these pieces can help you as well.

Create a personal Vision

It is said that successful people have a Vision of where they want to be and what they want to do.  We all have goals or resolutions, but they have little meaning if we do not see how they fit into the bigger picture.  Ask yourself open ended questions to help you think through how the individual goals fit into your life vision.

Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to own my own business? Where do you want to be at the end of the year?  Writing these answers down not only help clarify what you want to accomplish, but also allow you to review them.  I recommend to review your goals at the start of every quarter, making changes to them as needed. Remember to add to your list as new goals form.  Your Vision should start to become clarified within a few months and you will find it to be more motivating to continue with each review.

Make a Commitment to work

The second part of the process is usually one of the hardest.  You may have worked your brain while creating your Vision, but now it is time to work your body.  In order to execute your goal and make it reality, we must make a commitment to achieve it.  Making a commitment means sacrificing some things you may want to do, like eating an entire pizza, sleeping late when possible, or even hanging out with friends.  All of these things can still be done, just not all of the time. (Especially eating the pizza) Instead, make a promise to yourself to keep working hard, even when you experience setbacks and you will continue to close in on your goals.

Speaking of setbacks…   expect to have weak moments, they are a part of life.  Successful people realize that hurdles make you stronger.  Failure can be just as helpful as success, as they are both a part of the natural learning process.  Review why you failed and then take steps to make the correct adjustments and try again.  True commitment means that good or bad, you work through the hurdles so that great results can be achieved.

Always Believe in Yourself

Self-doubt.  Such an ugly little word, yet we experience this emotion daily.  I could write an entire blog (or more) just on this one topic, however, for this short segment I will offer just a few thoughts.

How easy is it to criticize others?  In this day of Social Media, the critics are an endless comment stream attached to everything.  No matter how many self-proclaimed critics there are, we will always remain our own worst critic.  Here is the truth, dear readers, I have learned through the years that if I never believe in myself, I certainly cannot hope to find others that will.  (Parents excluded)  Take time to think about who you are. Have a nice heart to heart with yourself.  Let go of any negative thoughts you may have and instead, replace them with positive thoughts.  Believe in yourself, commit to working toward your goals, and follow your vision.  Success is just around the corner.

I will wrap up this blog with a few words from Neil Gaiman:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.  Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Feel free to leave your comments below.

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